May 16, 1915 ~ January 25, 2011
Helen Summers Brown, a 51 year resident of Hermosa Beach passed away on Tue, January 25, 2011 at her home there. She was 95 years new. She was born in the Philippines in 1915 to her American father George R. Summers and her Filipino mother Trinidad Agcaoili Summers and was the 3rd of their 7 children. Her father was a teacher assigned by President Taft's directive to establish school systems within the Philippines after that territory's acquisition from Spain at the turn of the century. Soon after her graduation from High School in the PI (1934), her family moved to the Arcadia, California and she enrolled at Pasadena Junior College. She eventually transferred to UCLA where she obtained a bachelor's degree (Educ) and master's degree (Social Work). Helen chose a career in education and taught 3rd grade in schools within the Los Angeles Unified School District. As she came in contact with more and more Filipino American schoolchildren, she remembered her own experiences when she was new to this country. She remembered her search for identity and the lack of available resources for those who wanted to know more about Filipino culture or history. Thus, she decided to lobby the school district to recognize and address the special needs of Filipino American school children. Before long, she was also lobbying in the interest of Filipino American schoolteachers, seeking to increase their number and working for their promotions. She developed such a passion for helping Filipinos both old and new to this country that she became very well known within the LA school community and her influence broadened. Helen's crowing accomplishment is her founding of the Filipino American Library in 1985 in Historical Filipino Town in LA; a resource for the expanded Filipino community within Southern California. Through the generosity of the Filipino Christian Church and outpouring of help from friends and followers, the library flourished. It was the first of its kind in the United States, and it quickly gained recognition beyond the boundaries of Southern California. It is now under the purview of its own non-profit organization status. Helen was also a dedicated mother and wife and loved traveling and gardening which she pursued with zeal in her retirement. She was predeceased by her husband of 48 years, Bill Brown Sr in 1989 and she is survived by her four sons Bill Jr, Jim (Linda), George and Mike (Annie). She has 12 grandchildren as follows and all with last name Brown; Janelle, Louis (deceased), Andy, Holly, Steven, Michael, Robin, Nicholas, Patrick, Shannon and Sam. Her older grandchildren were the beneficiaries of many trips from her passion for traveling while she was still able. Helen Brown has lived a quieter life in the past years. Sadly she acquired dementia that slowly eroded her ability to remember much of what is written here. But her personality and friendly nature have always shined though and she was always a joy to be around even at the end. Her legacy will always continue in the hearts and minds of those who know her well in her family and for the many friends, students, teachers and professionals who continue to use and benefit by her library and her contributions to their own lives. In lieu of flowers the family asked for donations to be made to the Filipino American Library (ph: 310-218-8258).
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